Fertilizing lawns

Quick facts

  • Fertilizers add nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to the soil to assist plant growth.
  • On every bag of fertilizer, you will find a concentration of nutrients, or analysis, of the nutrients in the fertilizer.
  • There are both natural organic and manufactured fertilizers, each with their own characteristics.
  • All types of fertilizer can contribute to pollution, if used incorrectly.
  • Spot treating weeds may be more effective than using a weed-and-feed product over your entire lawn.

All fertilizers add nutrients to the soil to assist plant growth. Natural and manufactured fertilizers have different qualities, but it is necessary to take precautions when using either of them.

When properly applied, fertilizers pose few risks to humans or animals.

If used correctly, fertilizers can help you improve and maintain your lawn, so your lawn will be healthy enough to limit erosion, cool the environment and control allergens, among its many other benefits.

See Environmental benefits of healthy lawns.

Fertilizing basics


Fertilizer FAQs


Weed-and-feed products

“Weed-and-feed” products are lawn fertilizers mixed with herbicides designed to save time in lawn care. Take special care when using fertilizer-herbicide combinations.


Sam Bauer, P.G. Johnson and D.B. White

Reviewed in 2018

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